Re: VIC-20 "smart" expansion port idea

From: Nate Lawson <>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 23:35:09 -0800
Message-Id: <>
> On Jan 11, 2016, at 10:31 PM, Marko MƤkelƤ <> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 03:00:21PM -0500, Pete Rittwage wrote:
>> The Vic had such a short life, I don't think much was made for it... It was released Christmas of 80, C64 was exactly 2 years later. It was then discounted for a year or two, then gone.
> The Vic-20 was my second or third computer, after a C64 and possibly a PC (first shortly running Microsoft software, before I switched to Linux in 1993). I got the first one in 1991 for 50 FIM (about 10 USD).
> By the way, the C64 started to really enter Finland in 1984 or 1985. I got mine in 1986 maybe after a year after I had seen one. The same year several school mates got one. Nowadays, in the age of the Internet and almost unregulated global marketplace, the market penetration would be much faster. I am not sure if that is a good thing, though.

I donā€™t want this to go too far off the purpose of this list, but I saw that the VIC-20 was active in rural America from 1981 - 1987. The very first to adopt it were amateur radio operators or electronics hobbyists. Then, as software became available, it started getting more widely used as a home computer.

The first wave bought the VIC for $299, used it for a while, and then resold them when they upgraded to the C64 in 1983. Mine was only $50 then because the seller knew my father. He even threw in a few books, cassette drive, and a 16K RAM cart. He also sold us a HES modem because they were often used to dial up nearby control systems, such as for power, heating/lighting, etc. My father used that for a while with his work as an industrial mechanic.

I used and programmed the VIC from 1983 - 86. I found old Computeā€™s Gazette magazines, which usually had VIC versions of the type-in programs up through 1986, I think. Commercial software stopped appearing in 1984 but I didnā€™t notice because I was writing my own by then. Iā€™d watch a game on my friendā€™s C64 and then draw charsets and program a bad lookalike on the VIC. One memorable version was a terrible clone of "The Way of the Exploding Fistā€¯.

When I got the C64 in early 1987, I gave the VIC and all peripherals to a lower income family that did not even have a computer at all. They played games on it for at least another couple years before getting their own C64.

The sad thing about the VIC-20 was how fast it disappeared. The video game shake-out of 1983 and the C64 made it fade even faster. It was a really limited system and the C64 hit the same price quickly, but it was hard to switch after memorizing every memory location. Itā€™s like moving to a new school after a few years and having to find your way around a strange place.

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Received on 2016-01-14 08:00:09

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